Posted by Imperial Harvest on 16 June 2023
Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins
As the sun reaches its zenith in summer, it heralds the arrival of the Summer Solstice, a momentous occasion celebrated across cultures and traditions. This momentous occasion, also known as Xiazhi (夏至), represents a time of abundance and achievement — bringing a much anticipated period of growth and prosperity that nurtures our aspirations and empowers us to manifest our greatest potential.
Forming the 10th of the 24 solar terms, Xiazhi marks one of the most important periods in Chinese culture. In this article, we explore the cultural and symbolic aspects of the Xiazhi solar term and its relevance to personal growth and achievement. It offers practical advice on how individuals can embrace the spirit of the Summer Solstice in their daily lives, from setting goals and planning for success to harnessing the favourable energies of this auspicious period to lay the foundation for a prosperous future.
In the study of Chinese metaphysics, the summer season aligns with the element of Fire, resonating strongly with Period 9 of the Feng Shui cycle — represented by the Li Trigram (离卦), signifying the Fire element.
In Chinese dynastic history, the Summer Solstice was met with a flurry of festivities, with traditional celebrations dating as early as the Han dynasty (202 BC to 220 AD). Where the Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, the Summer Solstice marked its longest day. In particular, these most auspicious solar terms were greeted with great reverence and were deemed by ancient Chinese emperors as great occasions to hold magnificent festivals and celebrations.
Where the Winter Solstice celebrations called for the worship of Heaven, the Summer Solstice brought with it a time for Earth worship. In ancient China, the Summer Solstice celebrations were often referred to as the Summer Solstice Festival (夏至节). Historically, communities from all walks of life seized the Summer Solstice as an opportunity to devote their prayers and gratitude to the God of Earth, Tua Pek Gong (土地公) — one of the most powerful wealth gods and manifestations of auspicious luck in Chinese culture.
Generations of emperors across the Ming and Qing dynasties patronised the Temple of Earth during the Summer Solstice festivities. The reverent ritual worship carried out by these esteemed rulers was believed to usher in great wealth, prosperity and abundance to their empires.
The Ming and Qing dynasty emperors would ascend the Temple of Earth, conducting worship rites with exuberant flair in celebration of the God of Earth. Having been commissioned by Emperor Jiajing of the Ming dynasty and completed in 1530, the Temple of Earth stands as one of Beijing’s most culturally significant historical monuments.
The temple stands on a square-shaped altar, and is encircled by water channels — a grand allusion to the ancient Chinese principle of “天圆地方”, or “Round Heaven, Square Earth”. These architectural traits are symbolic of the Temple of Earth’s status as a sacred site of worship for bountiful harvests. The temple’s main altar, known as the Fangze Temple, was designed to offer tributes to the God of Earth.
In celebration of personal achievements and in preparation for the upcoming new era in Feng Shui, this Summer Solstice shapes up to be immensely significant as we sow seeds of prosperity in preparation for Period 9 of the Feng Shui cycle.
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